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Whipped Cream in my oil - WTF? (with pictures and video...)
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BigBlueVW.blogspot.com
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:29 am    Post subject: Whipped Cream in my oil - WTF? (with pictures and video...) Reply with quote

Here's the story. Yesterday, I was checking the setting on the choke I had disabled the night before and I found all this whipped cream-like brown foam in my oil! It was mainly in the tube that leads down from the oil bath filter to the neck of where you fill oil, but was also on the back of the oil cap as well as a small amount in the filter itself. So, my question is, what the heck is it?

The engine is a 1200. I bought the car this past summer from a deceased PO's family, so I can't know the oil previously used, but I did an oil change 3077 miles ago. I used Pennzoil Conventional (found here: http://www.pennzoil.com/products.html#Conventional)
10W 30.

About 2 weeks ago, with it getting colder here, I noticed that the choke was running for longer than I thought it should. So on Thursday night of this week, I disabled the choke per the instructions in the Muir book. I think I will go back and try to make the choke work correctly at some point, but like having the control over the warm up time and speed in the morning for now.

Since doing the choke, I have not driven the car more than a few miles.

So...

Here are some pictures of the goo...

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And here is a quick video


Link


Any ideas?
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glutamodo Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's from water condensation in the oil. It is typical in cold weather if you don't run you engine up til it's hot enough to boil the condensed moisture out of the crankcase. Give it a little run on the freeway occasionally and you won't see this.

Get your choke working, I do not agree with Muir on chokes.
The colder it is, the long it takes the choke to warm up. It is a heating element, after all. Now, choke elements do wear out and die, but it's almost always an instant failure, not one that gets worse over time. I tend to adjust my chokes a little looser than the factory marks, and that works for me.

-Andy
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree with Andy.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I love the Muir book (as much as for the delivery style as for the information) but don't take it as gospel on every issue. When properly adjusted the electric choke does a fine job. And as the previous poster said, when it fails it is typically not a gradual degradation but an abrupt failure. Usually the heating element burns out which will keep the choke engaged much longer than necessary. You can check the heating element with a simple Volt/Ohm meter.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My fist guess as well. Checked my sons and find the same thing.

Time for a long drive. It's 24 degrees outside but crystal clear sky. I'll let you know the results when we get home.

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[/img]
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bet you don't have the thermostst hooked up. I don't and it doesn't matter how long I drive, it won't get warm enough to 'boil' the oil when it's 19F outside.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yummy! Looks like the base for a Marie Calendar Pie!
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

runamoc wrote:
Bet you don't have the thermostst hooked up. I don't and it doesn't matter how long I drive, it won't get warm enough to 'boil' the oil when it's 19F outside.


That's a good thought. So many mechanics over the years thought they were smarter than VW's engineers and disabled the thermostats. That would definitely contribute to the engine not getting up to proper operating temperature and driving the water out of the crankcase. I'd have a look as see if your thermostat is still present and operating properly.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

runamoc wrote:
Bet you don't have the thermostat hooked up. I don't and it doesn't matter how long I drive, it won't get warm enough to 'boil' the oil when it's 19F outside.


Good point. I assume your speaking to BigBlue. If you have seen any of my post you know the thermostat is the FIRST thing I look for..

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=332196

Problem is, even with it, driving only three miles one way to school when it's below freezing is just not far enough.


P.S. God bless Bob Hoover
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BigBlueVW.blogspot.com
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

engineerscott wrote:
runamoc wrote:
Bet you don't have the thermostst hooked up. I don't and it doesn't matter how long I drive, it won't get warm enough to 'boil' the oil when it's 19F outside.


That's a good thought. So many mechanics over the years thought they were smarter than VW's engineers and disabled the thermostats. That would definitely contribute to the engine not getting up to proper operating temperature and driving the water out of the crankcase. I'd have a look as see if your thermostat is still present and operating properly.


This is a good call. I do drive the bug about 60 miles a day - 30 each way - so it should be getting warm enough...

I'll look into the thermostat.

Thank you.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If all else fails and you can't get the engine hot enough, change the oil much more frequently. Even every 1000 miles while it's so cold out. Oil is cheap.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Navy8R wrote:
Time for a long drive. It's 24 degrees outside but crystal clear sky. I'll let you know the results when we get home.


OK, here is what I found. Driving the car even for long distances when it's cold outside will not remove any of the emulsion crap. Even using a heat gun doesn't do it. The stuff is sort of waxy and just sits there. If you want to remove it you have to wipe it away. Problem is who knows how far down inside the engine this stuff goes. Mine (my son's) seemed to stop about an inch down the oil filler tube.

Upon further investigation I find that there is new condensed water in the oil filler cap and funnel every day (18-25 deg. F) when my son gets home from school. You have to know that some of that water is trickling down in to the crank case. So, yes, changing the oil much more often in winter is going to be a requirement.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is water. Condensation.
Once the foam has formed, it won't go away just by driving the car. The area around the oil cap does not get hot enough. That you will have to wipe out with a rag, and blow out the breather with an air hose.
VW had a problem with that back in the 60's. In the upper mid-west, it would freeze and block the crankcase breather, which would then blow oil out around the pulley.
If you have the road draft tube going out under the car, take the rubber boot off the end to help get rid of the moisture.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the fuel injeted era we even had to add an electric breather heater to the Midwest and Nrthern cars, there was a service bulletin on it.

I agree with the thermostat needing to be in also, it helps.

I had a '71 with extremely high mileage on the original engine that would freeze the breather shut and blow oil out from behind the pulley it was a mess.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i'm currently having this problem on my 72 "wunderbug". 1600
i live in northern utah and it has been around 20 degrees when it started and i have been driving about 3-4 miles a day.
seemed like the goo was really clogging things up and making it run horribly.
i tried changing the oil whenever it(the goo) wasn't frozen solid.
but i still can't get it to stay idle. it idles for a while and then cuts out over time. i haven't really understood the carb adjustments or any of that fine tuning stuff. it has been like that for a while, finally staying idle when warmed up. i'll try driving longer distances to see if that takes care of it.
i was told not to drive it at all with it like this... which added to my frustration. after it sitting for weeks getting a flat tire...not knowing what needs to be done. i'm trying to sell it because i just bought a 79 westfalia and i'm having a hard time doing that. a potential buyer checked it out and told me it had compression problems. but i have no idea how to get that taken care of... any advice not listed in this thread?
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You need to blow all of it out with compressed air. Changing the oil isn't going to get it out. Remove the rubber hose to breather and blow it out and blow into where it hooks up down through the road draft tube (take the rubber boot off the bottom first or you will blow it off and lose it).
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I posted about this same problem a couple of weeks ago. Evedently this is pretty common , so I was a little surprised to not know this. (short winters here in Knoxville) Anyway, I got about the same advise as this and it was suggested that the short drive to and from work was not enough to get the engine up to temp. I took it out for a good long and slightly hard drive (about 45 min on freeway) When I took the filler cap back off all that gunk was completely gone. It was about as bad as the op's pic. So, not sure about how to prevent the moisture from getting in but running it like a car and not a yard ornament seemed to help.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check that your breather setup is clear and working, whether a hose to the air cleaner, or a road draft tube under the car. Check the warm air flap on the air cleaner, and that your heat riser is not plugged. is your thermostat installed, or did someone read Muir and gut it? All these things interfere with warm-up and make the goo problem worse.

Finally, run the car at least 10 minutes and get it thoroughly warmed up before shutting it down.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tthew unn wrote:
i'm currently having this problem on my 72 "wunderbug". 1600
i live in northern utah and it has been around 20 degrees when it started and i have been driving about 3-4 miles a day.
seemed like the goo was really clogging things up and making it run horribly.
i tried changing the oil whenever it(the goo) wasn't frozen solid.
but i still can't get it to stay idle. it idles for a while and then cuts out over time. i haven't really understood the carb adjustments or any of that fine tuning stuff. it has been like that for a while, finally staying idle when warmed up. i'll try driving longer distances to see if that takes care of it.
i was told not to drive it at all with it like this... which added to my frustration. after it sitting for weeks getting a flat tire...not knowing what needs to be done. i'm trying to sell it because i just bought a 79 westfalia and i'm having a hard time doing that. a potential buyer checked it out and told me it had compression problems. but i have no idea how to get that taken care of... any advice not listed in this thread?


Twenty degree weather and 3-4 mile trips is a sure recipe for water condensing in the oil. Make sure that the thermostat is still installed and in working order. Drain that oil and wipe/blow out all of the foam that you can see and from here out make sure that you periodically run the engine long enough to heat it up to operating temperature. As some of the other posters have pointed out, once this water/oil froth forms it usually has to be removed, simply driving the engine until it is up to operating temperature typically won't eliminate it.

Having a properly operating thermostat is a huge deal when it comes to combating these condensation issues. Particularly in temperate climates, many previous owners have decided that they don't need the thermostat and that running the engine cooler is always better. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The aircooled VW engine was designed to operate in a specific temperature range and the thermostat is the main component that helps assure that the engine is operating in that temperature band.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DrDarby wrote:

I had a '71 with extremely high mileage on the original engine that would freeze the breather shut and blow oil out from behind the pulley it was a mess.


That will happen on any of them. I was running a 1600 in good condition and it blew over a quart out around the pulley one cold morning. When I blew the draft tube and the breather hose out, I couldn't believe how much of that milky crap was in there.
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